Written by Ilona Ronay
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Topics: France, Hospital

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

image for Top Officials at Managed Care Company Suffer Attack of Conscience-itis
Top HMO Officials Alleged to Be Recuperating From Acute Conscience-itis Here

Paris, France--Top officials of an American managed care organization suffered an attack of acute conscience-itis while meeting here to discuss way to further delay payment to providers and subscribers. They were rushed for free to a Paris hospital where they received state-of-the-art care without having to complete any insurance forms. they are now recuperating at an undisclosed location.

"We had just finished a fabulous meal, complete with excellent red wine, and we were hammering out our final strategy for delaying claims for an additional 25 years when I got this weird feeling in my ribcage," said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity from his hospital bed.

"When I looked over at my colleagues, I could see that they didn't feel too good, either. So I yelled to the waiter to call an ambulance."

Calling an ambulance took a little longer than expected because some Americans called "Garcon!" and others called "Monsieur!", so that the waiter politely waited until his customers could make up their minds how to address him.

"Then they kept moaning something about 'coverage'," the waiter said. "I brought over some blankets that I keep in the back of the restaurant and tried to wrap them up, but they threw the blankets off and kept moaning 'coverage'! What do they mean by this coverage?"

Preliminary testing at the hospital confirmed that these officials' conscience, which they had had surgically removed when they joined the management team of the managed care organization, had grown back slightly--"just enough to cause a few symptoms," marvelled one doctor.

"it may have been the food. It may have been the wine. It may have been guilt at being in a country where prompt and sophisticated health care is available to all, not just to Vice President Cheney," added another doctor. "Whatever the reason, though, these officials have undergone a complete change of heart."

"I don't know how we can go back," said another official. "Either we have to undergo conscience removal again, or we have to change the entire fabric and structure of our organization, and I think that would disappoint the millions of Americans who have come to depend on us for their stress and hypertension. If they didn't have us to piss them off and destroy their lives and cause them to go insane, who would do that for them?"

Journalists covering the story have learned that the average time for payment of a claim was 17 years. The customer service representative handling the process received a commission if the subscriber or provider died before the claim was paid.

If the customer service representative resigned or died before the claim was paid, the money went into a special slush fund and the subscriber's records were deleted.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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